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When does jealousy become a MH issue?

(146 Posts)
opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 10:28:12

So much has happened, but I don't have the energy to give a full overview, but here are the bare bones.
Dp suffers with extreme jealousy, and I have a feeling that it has been a feature of his previous relationships too. He particularly obsesses over the past (as in, my previous partners etc.), and gets into terrible vile moods on a regular basis, where he makes the house environment unbearable. Generally these moods will culminate in a huge row, where I tell him how untenable this is, threaten to leave, and he becomes remorseful, we make up, and things return to (an uneasy) normality.
His jealousy creeps into all aspects of our life, and when I think about it, I have modified my life in so many ways to fit around it. I'm frightened of the future, and feel stifled.
I don't know who I am anymore, I feel full of self doubt.
Aside for this issue, we are incredibly close and intimate. He is a committed and supportive partner, and a lovely dad to our baby.
He's had counselling. It helped at the time, then wore off.
He can be nasty and verbally abusive when he's in the grip of an 'episode'.
I've lost all my confidence.
We are so financially entwined sad
I don't know what to do, but would appreciate your thoughts...

Secretswitch Sat 27-Jul-13 10:39:17

<hugs> you sound very unhappy. Anytime you must "modify" your behaviour to prevent a jealous outburst from a partner is a huge flag to me. He has given himself permission to act nasty as a means of controlling you. I think I would also feel afraid and stifled given the circumstances you have described.
Can you perhaps see a counselor yourself to support you? What about RL support and assistance?
I do not think you want your sweet baby growing up believing that jealousy, control and fear is normal in relationships. What would you advise your dc to do if they confided the details of a jealous relationship to you?
Please know I am thinking about you..

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 10:46:57

Thankyou for such a lovely replysad
I am tired of waking on eggshells, and lurching from one blip to the next. I truly love him, but he seems incapable of being in a normal, warm rship. He can only go a couple of weeks at a time before his jealousy flares up, and something starts.
You're absolutely right, I don't want my lovely baby to see this, feel the tension, or grow up with misogynistic attitudes like dps. Maybe I will see a counsellor, for a bit of support. Thankyou.

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 10:49:18

As for RL support, my family and friends are wonderful, and I think they see how much this relationship has destroyed my self esteem.

maypoledancer Sat 27-Jul-13 10:51:09

This is a very difficult situation. I was going to say well just leave him but then I saw you have a baby and there are good things in the relationship.

But you cannot live like this. You can only support him in his own wish to change. Have you got a good GP? Could you talk to them about it? What does your mum or best friend think?

maypoledancer Sat 27-Jul-13 10:52:52

x posted with you OP. I get the impression you have had enough and don't think things will change to be honest. Do you think you have started this thread because you want to be told that you should leave?

DragonsAreReal Sat 27-Jul-13 10:54:18

This sounds like very hard work op sad

I truly believe we only have one life and not to waste it being around people that make us unhappy. His jealously is his problem and for him to deal with.

Secretswitch Sat 27-Jul-13 10:57:35

It's hard,isn't it? Always trying to be one step ahead, thinking about the consequences of each move you make. I remember playing all scenarios in my head...did I smile too long at the postman? Will he get upset if I answer an email from an ( male) old friend at uni? ( old friend was announcing birth of first child) I spent a long time at the market. Will he believe I was just enjoying a bit of a shop? Or will he think I was shagging the vegetable man under the cabbages?
I so feel for you, opalescent..healthy relationships are never about fear and control..
You and your baby deserve a loving happy outcome..

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 11:01:31

Possibly, maypole. I think I naively hoped this would be an issue that would fade, but of anything it has worsened. He does have a good GP, but I think they think he suffers with anxiety, rather than recognising the awful morbid jealousy.
There are good things: we are intensely close & affectionate. But sometimes I wonder whether those qualities are part of his instinctive need to possess, rather than genuinely good iykwim?

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 11:03:12

Secret switch- that is my life.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 27-Jul-13 11:03:45

It is a problem when it's making you modify your behaviour (and you weren't doing anything wrong to begin with)

The thing is - does he see it as a problem? Is he upset by his own extreme jealousy? Or does he think you are at fault, that everything would be okay if you "stopped flirting" or attracting any attention from any man ever? (I don't imagine that you ARE flirting BTW, and you can't really help whether somebody pays you attention or not)

If he doesn't see it as his problem, then you're stuck really, because he will never change. He has to really see it as his issue and want to change it, not "Well I'm quite jealous but only because she makes me" - no - he needs to recognise that his view is distorted and want to fix that.

I could not live like this forever.

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 11:07:10

He knows its wrong, and his issue. But at the same time there are deeply ingrained attitudes about women at play. I think he believes he deserves someone 'untouched'- likely!!

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 11:07:58

Note; I have not ever been promiscuous. V normal 'past'. Not that I need to explain myself to him.

Zazzles007 Sat 27-Jul-13 11:11:26

OP what stands out to me is that your H has had counseling for the jealousy and although he learned to manage it at the time, the changes were short-lived. This seems to suggest that the jealousy is actually entrenched in his personality. Unfortunately, as much as people have positive aspects to their personalities, they can also have negative ones too, and the negative ones can be really hard to unravel. I'm not sure if there is enough evidence to say that its a mental health issue though.

Does jealousy feature in any other family members? Either someone has modeled jealousy to him in relationships in the past, or perhaps someone in the family has cheated? Does H honestly know himself where the jealousy comes from? (And not in a 'you made me do it' sort of way)

maypoledancer Sat 27-Jul-13 11:29:19

Well when you said you were close and intimate I didn't see that as completely positive because I think that you are right and it is a symptom of his wish to possess you. It was the fact that you have a baby and you said that you truly love him that made me feel sad.

If you don't think he can change you have to get away, you cannot be yourself with this person, sadly.

Tiredemma Sat 27-Jul-13 11:33:11

Delusional Jealousy/Othello Syndrome are actually recognised psychiatric disorders.

Lots of stuff on the internet about it- including credible research.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 27-Jul-13 11:34:29

Well, does he want to seek help and change this about himself? I must say what you say about the underlying attitudes is not really encouraging sad

My ex was like this also and it has caused problems in subsequent relationships for me. My DP that I am with now is lovely and very trusting (we live in different countries, we'd have to be!) but at times I've done something that with my ex would have aroused suspicion, like going out for a drink with a male friend, or going on a night out and some men had hit on me, or the time that DP's friend was going to walk home and I said don't be silly, stay on the sofa bed.

All of these times I have mentioned it and then felt so anxious in my own mind that he might be upset/paranoid that I was actually cheating on him that I've gone overboard with the "But don't worry nothing happened!" and then I get tied up in knots worrying that I've made it sound even more suspicious even though I've done nothing wrong sad I'm getting better and DP has always been fine but I can see that I could easily have made it into an issue in this relationship when it didn't need to be one at all.

I agree as well it isn't a good attitude for your DS to grow up with.

oracleselfservice Sat 27-Jul-13 11:38:22

My DH was like this at the beginning of our relationship. In his case it WAS a symptom of a mental illness - I at first thought he had borderline personality disorder but in fact it was a manifestation of his OCD. The jealousy was intrusive (compulsive) thoughts and images which he knew were irrational but couldn't stop. Like the sufferer who compusively handwashes even though he knows its ridiculous.

Once he was properly medicated (anti anxiety meds - zoloft) and has CBT it stopped and has never reappeared. He says he still gets the thoughts sometimes but they don't take over his mind and the techniques he learned in therapy help him rationalise.

Has your partner actually got a MH diagnosis? Does he evidence any other OCD type behaviours?

If not then maybe he is just an abusive controlling wanker.

But not necessarily.

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 11:43:08

He doesn't have a diagnosis. He takes anti anxiety meds, which help keep his mood more even, but don't seem to tackle the jealousy. I have thought about OCD, because he suffers with horrid intrusive thoughts and images about my past. But I do wonder whether I'm just hoping that its a 'condition'. Rather than accepting he is an abusive man.

Secretswitch Sat 27-Jul-13 11:44:27

Opalescent, you have to make decisions you can best live with. I ended up leaving my jealous partner when he began checking my knickers for..please forgive..wetness and sex odour. A counselor helped me take a look at myself and my life. She asked me if I wanted to spend the next fifty years of my life with a man that did not trust me to post a letter, lest I fall passionately in love with mail clerk. Living a life in this manner is so exhausting.
You will figur out what is best for you and your baby. You can keep posting here for support.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 27-Jul-13 11:45:49

The thing is though, opal, if he isn't willing to seek help, off his own back, then it doesn't make much difference if he's mentally ill or abusive. If he won't take steps to remedy these thoughts and behaviours, you're still the one who has to live with it.

Apileofballyhoo Sat 27-Jul-13 12:08:56

I think you have hit the nail on the head with the OCD, OP. I would think that there is something in your DPs past that he has not/cannot deal with and he is focussing his anxiety/pain on you and your past rather than on himself and whatever is causing this. It is easier for him to focus his unhappiness/anger/hurt on you than on his inner pain. I would think that if he moves on from being jealous it will be because he has found something else to obsess about, unless he deals with his underlying issues.

When anxiety has a grip on the brain irrational thoughts are the result. In his case he is focussing those thoughts on you rather than on himself. I would think that he probably has very low self esteem and can't believe you are with him at all to a certain extent. He could be comparing himself to your past and finding himself 'lacking' (obviously in his head). None of this is rational. He will have to accept that none of this is rational, and that he is completely losing perspective.

Does he find it hard to trust people in general? How are his other relationships? Does he have any friends? How is his relationship with his parents?

I would have a good long talk with him when he is having a good day. He needs a lot of help as he certainly does have severe mental health issues.

For yourself - I think it is not fair to subject yourself or your baby to this. He needs to accept that. It is not normal to walk on eggshells all the time. He needs to seek help, and seek help now, to control his irrational thoughts, deal with them, and move on. I would suggest a time frame for this and if things do not improve fairly drastically you need to get out of the relationship. You are not responsible for another adult's mental health. You are responsible for yourself and your baby.

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 12:19:04

Some excellent points. Yoni, spot on. It doesn't really matter whether its an illness or not, I'm still the one dealing with it, while trying to raise a baby.
Abally, he is extremely insecure, constantly comparing himself to others, and hugely bitter towards those who he perceives as 'better'.
We are in the midst of an episode again today. He is at work, sending me cold texts. Which means he's thinking horrible things. I may crack today and follow through with asking him to leave. But probably not sad

opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 12:19:24

Other people are just having a nice Saturday with their families. sad

Secretswitch Sat 27-Jul-13 12:27:47

Opalescent, take your baby and go for a walk. Maybe stop for a nice cup of tea. You are an adult woman. You can decide to ignore his blatantly controlling texts..( I also understand you might be interrogated for this decision later..) You do not have to justify yourself to anyone.
I am so sad you have to cope with patenting a baby and trying to conform to life with a jealous man..

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